Names and some details have been slightly modified for privacy reasons, but the rest of this is true. Most of this is not made up, James Frey be “darned.”
A conversation with Janice confirmed my deepest, darkest fears: my desire for a leadership position anywhere in ministry is fueld by a burning desire for some kind of status and career advancement. Yes, too often I find myself wanting a position in ministry because of where that could take me or the doors it could open.That has to stop.
I’m tired of being a self-serving leetch who’s not fit to lead a warren full of bunnies. “How will holding this rabbit make me look?” “Should his ears be up or down to maximize the attention drawn to me?” Of course I’m not quite like that, but I’m close enough to the flame of ego to singe my eye brows.
“I’m glad they are confident in me, but I can’t help feeling completely unqualified,” confessed Janice.
“My experience with Christian groups,” I replied, “is that leadership theory can completely usurp the Spirit of God. If you feel over your head, that may be more to your advantage.”
To this measured response, she replied, “I think you’re right. I just want to help people get to know God and for them to love one another. I’d rather err on the side of stupidity than be too controlling. I’ve always preferred more egalitarian forms of leadership, but I don’t know what that will look like.”
I don’t think I did justice to Janice’s words. Everything she said was so devoid of self though that I was struck. She didn’t care about her status, image, or future career in ministry. She was being obedient right where she is.
I suddenly realized why God has kept me on a tight leash lately. I have much to learn about service, obedience, and serving in the here and now.
While I was telling Janice how I have often seen church staff devise strategies, vision, and action plans without the Holy Spirit’s guidance, I realized that I want the same thing these misguided staff members want. I just seek it in another manner. What do we all want? Credit, glory, a slap on the back, or whatever else you want to call it. We want a name and reputation that will precede us.
Such things are barriers to the work of God and the Gospel. I spent my afternoon repenting. See how righteous and repentant I am? Wouldn’t I make a great leader??? ; )
Perhaps the hardest discipline for Christians to master sometimes is contentment. We are immersed in a consumer society that creates needs in addition to the legitimate ones that beg and claw for attention amidst the glitz and bustle of life.
Can I be content at my job? Can I be content with the relationships God has entrusted to me? Before I even think about “a lot,” can I be faithful with “a little.”